Strength training does not improve human movement.
So why the hell do we bother?
First a bit of a back story.
As you’re reading this I’m sitting the Anatomy in Motion (AiM) Level 3 course, continuing on from the study I’ve done the last 18 months into this method of looking at human movement.
Anatomy in Motion in action
And in these last 18 months I’ve come to understand movement on a whole other level thanks to the teachings of AiM creator Gary Ward and his faithful sidekick Chris Sritharan.
It was Chris who first said to me that strength training doesn’t improve human movement, and he stopped me and really made me look at what we as Strength & Conditioning guys really do.
I can’t talk for all S&C guys, but essentially we aim to build more efficient and effective athletes by increasing their Strength, Mobility and Endurance.
Strength is essentially force production, how much power the muscles can generate to move a joint or joints.
Mobility is about developing and controlling the full range of motion in each joint in the body, particularly in relation to all the other joints.
Endurance then is the ability to just keep going. It’s about getting the oxygen into the muscles to keep the producing force over and over again.
This sounds like it creates better movement. And it can create better movement.
But all we really do is create the POTENTIAL for better movement.
The athlete still needs to work on the skill of moving. Something we are born with but through lifestyle, training, injury and habits, we tend to forget.
Many people look at gymnasts and dancers as the be all and end all of movers, and thats fair enough. Until you look more closely and see that outside of their performance they live in pain and discomfort from the compensations they’ve created within their own bodies to excel at their chosen movement.
People look at martial artists, like myself and may of my colleagues, as the epitome of movement, until they see how many of us have trashed knees, elbows, backs, shoulders as a result of our training.
If you consider how there are people alive today that have hit triple figures, living to over 100years old, which means they grew up in an age with less technology, more physical labour and two of the worst wars the world has ever seen. Yet they are in surprisingly good health.
But I know multiple martial artists who by their 50’s are in serious trouble with their body. Power lifters who can barely move in their mid 30’s GAA and Rugby players having joints replaced before they’re 40.
There are some surgeons who holiday very well thanks to the amount of hip replacements they do as a direct result of Yoga.
Average gym folk, fitness enthusiasts with low back and knee pain.
So never mind the whole “the fitness industry is failing because obesity is on the rise” nonsense (that by the way is bullshit, you can’t out train a bad diet, so no amount of gym work can help you if you eat shit all the time. Or even huge volumes of good food) The fitness industry is failing because people who train at an amateur level are getting preventable injuries.
Injuries that are preventable if actual human movement, not just lifting technique and athletic technique, but actual human movement is improved along side the Strength, Mobility & Endurance.
I don’t believe anyone has the whole picture figured out yet, but my money is on the Anatomy in Motion guys getting there first.
It’s food for thought if nothing else.
I’d love to hear your opinions on the topic, drop me a comment below or on Facebook.
Dave Hedges www.WG-Fit.com
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